I remember the first time I laced up to run at a fun run after having children. I hadn’t run for a long time. I was unfit, and I didn’t feel like I belonged. It was a local 5k Australia day race. I didn’t even know how far that really meant. Until I started running. We went with our kids, and hubby thought it would be a good idea. Perhaps he was right, and perhaps this event actually cemented in me how much I had missed running and the high that it gave me. Perhaps if this day never happened RMA wouldn’t exist as I wouldn’t have told myself that I could keep going?
As I struggled to keep up with my 5 year old who was running also, I had thoughts going on in my mind which began way before the gun even went off….you can’t do this. It is too far, you are not fit enough…etc. But slowly and surely step by step I made it to the finish line all red faced and exhausted, but with a huge smile on my face knowing that I had indeed finished the race, because I COULD. There really was no reason that I couldn’t.
Sometimes it is so easy to doubt our ability and put ourselves down before we even have given ourselves the chance to start. This happens a lot of times with beginner runners, but more and more I see it in those of us that have been at this craft for a long time. We doubt our ability to really push ourselves, or get the result that we really long for. Perhaps it is even as simple enough to doubt that we can get our run even done, day to day.
Perhaps it is the fear of what others may think of us running, or the pace of our run, or the type of running we are doing, or even as one RMA mentioned today the clothes that we are wearing that keeps us from believing that we can. All these things are foolish thinking and it robs us of the joy that we can find in running, and the connections and achievements that running can bring.
The problem is that (and I am totally guilty) when we put this “I can’t” attitude into our mind it will most certainly play out in our actions during our run. Without even thinking, your body will be fooled into thinking that you can’t do it, and the anxiety starts, and then the fear kicks in, and before you know it your heart rate has elevated, your breathing is out of control, your legs are heavy and you really feel like you cant go on. Perhaps you do stop, or perhaps you just feel like you have failed.
We need to change our mindset, whether it be one run, or working towards a goal, and start to tell ourselves that we most certainly CAN do what it is that we are setting out to achieve. Of course, this doesn’t mean we can sit idle, we need to put in the work to reap the rewards, and yes some goals are loftier than others and even a little bit scary, but the first step is to make sure that our mindset is in the right place if we want any hope to achieve our goals.
So, how can we do this?
Some ideas on how to tell ourselves that we CAN are:
- Be accountable: Perhaps get a running coach (contact us for suggestions). Sometimes it is good to have someone to help you set your goals in a realistic and sensible manner that is achievable.
- Create a journal that helps you pen your thoughts on working towards your goals. What you could improve, or what you are loving about your training, keeping the goals central and the focus.
- Build a media wall in your bedroom or study or workplace that motivates and inspires you towards your mission. Use positive mantras and quotes and your goal written down stuck to the wall where you will see it everyday. Perhaps add your success during your journey to the wall to help you keep moving forward and give you positive feedback.
- Find like-minded training buddies. RMA is FULL of women that are keen to run together. Join one of our social running groups or create your own with other ladies and help each other reach your goals. Sometimes it is easier when we do it together. It doesn’t have to be every run, but maybe pick the session you find the hardest and do it with a group or with a running friend.
- Make it fun. Instead of heading out to complete what you may find a really hard 5k tempo run on your own, find a fun run or run with friends, or go to parkrun to make it easier. I know that a race always seems easier to me than a training run, and I am pulled along by the other runners. Be creative and make sure that fun is part of your training. Let’s be honest, if there was no fun in running we wouldn’t do it!
- Share the highs and lows on your journey. Feedback is so important and maybe instead of giving up, someone might have a suggestion on how you could train more effectively or give you some tips to help you keep going to reach your target.
- Find reasons to tell yourself that you CAN. Remember why you are doing this. It might be for a charity. It could be to lose weight, or it could be that you just want to run a certain distance. Whatever your reason, write it down and remember why you started. Keep this in the forefront of your mind and help those reasons be a catalyst to continue.
Remember that you CAN
Believe that you CAN
Go ahead and do show that you CAN.